Mike and I managed to say three things that probably top the Top Ten List of What Not To Say During a Home Study Visit With Your Adoption Specialist.
Joy arrived on Monday afternoon to a spotless home. We joked (she as well), that homes are always the cleanest on her first visit, then families realize she’s not actually here to judge our housekeeping skills, so they start living like normal people again. (Normal people actually HAVE dust in places and toys scattered about, for the record. I’m pretty sure they’ve done studies).
I heart Joy. She is AWESOME. She’s young, fun, totally down-to-earth. I had my completed Autobiography for her, plus another paper that isn’t required until later. She was VERY impressed with everything that we’ve gotten done already, and she started glancing over my autobio, and said, “Are you a writer?! This will be so much fun to read!” Why yes, yes, I am. Did I mention I heart Joy?!
As is the name of the game with this adoption stuff, Joy arrived with yet another packet full of paperwork for us. This one included the Holy Grail of adoption paperwork though – I might just put it in a padlocked, protective display case on the wall – it’s the Adoption CHECKLIST. Every single item/action that we’ll need to do to get a completed home study is listed and accounted for us complete with a place to put the date on when you completed it and a handy little box for your neat check mark. Ahhh, I love a good list. And I already got to cross off about a third of the items! Some of them – our CPR/First Aid class, PRIDE Foster Training class, Trans-Racial Awareness class – won’t be able to be crossed off until November and December when we’ve completed all the trainings. But at least we’ll have all of our stuff done by then.
OK, so the visit. This first one was just for us to have the chance to meet, Joy to deliver the paperwork packet and Mike and I had to fill out the background check/clearance forms (then we wait for those to get processed, THEN we get fingerprint cards, get fingerprinted, those get submitted to the FBI and that can take between a few weeks to a few months).
And now for the Top Ten List of What Not To Say During a Home Study Visit With Your Adoption Specialist. (Mike and I chose to only go for three on this first visit; we don’t want to over-impress her; we’ll save some for the future):
1.) Talking about something that criminals do: When discussing the fingerprinting process with us, Joy asked if either of work with our hands. Mike explained that he’s a software engineer and I said that I play the flute and shake shakers and stuff. Well, that’s all very nice and good, but what she meant was REALLY working with your hands like a masseuse or carpenter. Apparently people in very handy (haha) occupations can actually wear down their fingerprints over time and they don’t print and scan well. Huh! Who knew?! Well, Mike proceeds to add all nonchalantly, “I know that criminals sometimes dip their hands in acid to burn off their fingerprints.”…………………………………………………………………………………………….
(that would be the awkward silence that followed). OK, first of all, how do you even know that? WHY do you know that? And why would you admit, right now, in front of our home study/Adoption Specialist, that you know that?!! Great! She thinks that we run and mingle with acid-hand-dipping criminals. Excellent!
2.) Announcing that you’re a stalker: I have a kind of funny relationship going with Emily, one of the gals that works at the Amara Agency office. She was the first person to have the pleasure of receiving emails from me. These weren’t just ‘so how does your agency work’ kind of emails, these were detailed, lengthy emails with lists of questions, requests for statistics, etc. We’d done plenty of research into the adoption world already by the time we contacted Amara, so I knew what questions to ask. Some of my questions she couldn’t answer and had to ask of the agency director. Anyway, Emily has been very patient with me. I’ve spoken to her on the phone several times as well. The first time she called (to confirm our Pre-Application Interview), I joked with her about her last email which had said, “You’re coming up with SO MANY great questions!!” This was really just her nice way of saying, HOLY CRAP when will this crazy Jenny Martin lady stop asking me questions?!! She laughed and was, of course, very nice about it. Now whenever she calls we joke about how she sets aside extra time, etc. lest I keep her with more questions.
We’ve been in the agency building several times now and have seen pictures on the wall of all the staff members, so I knew what Joy and Emily both looked like. I proceeded to tell Joy, how great Emily’s been, and how I think I saw her leaving the building the last time we went for a class, because I’m a stalker and I’ve seen her picture a few of times and I know what she looks like…and I know where she lives. (OK, now that last part). Yes, I told our Adoption Specialist that I’m stalking an employee there. Stupdenous!
3.) Having no clue where your children are: When Joy stood up and was just about to leave, Mike suddenly looks around and says, “Where’s Zach?!” I give an uncomfortable little laugh and Joy tries to mask a look that clearly says: “Dude, you don’t even know where your kid is?!” I say to Mike – in an over-the-top joking way, “Haha. I thought YOU had him! Huh….real good, honey. Losing the kids like this. Ha…um…ha. He went to Andrea’s to play, remember?” Mike wrinkles his nose, trying to search his memory, “Oh yeah, now I remember.” Then as an explanation to Joy he says, “I was working on the computer downstairs. Anything can be going on around me when I’m working, and I wouldn’t notice.” Um, great! So, like the kids could be stolen. The house could be on fire. I can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t trust people like us with a kid! Wonderful!